Recommendations for archiving audio tapes

From: R. D. Davis <>
Date: Tue Oct 21 00:07:13 2003

Quothe Philip Pemberton, from writings of Mon, Oct 20, 2003 at
04:37:05PM +0100:
> Get yourself a decent tape recorder - not one of those elcheapo things, a
> proper full-size tape deck. I've been using a JVC TD-X335 to archive various
> old tapes. Make sure the heads are nice and clean, though. Don't waste time

Or, if he wants to preserve them via the analog route, ensuring that
they stand a better chance of being readable at some point in the
future after various forms of digital media have become obsolete: :-)

First, get a good used analog half-inch, or one-inch, two track (this
means reel to reel, and yes, only two tracks) mastering tape deck
(make sure that the heads are good before proceeding/purchasing),

2. clean the heads with 99% isopropyl alcohol using lint-free wipes

3. demagnetize the heads (know what you're doing before doing this, or
you could end up permanently magnetizing the heads... an expensive
mistake ...and make sure that the tape deck is turned off during the
demagnetization process

4. buy an MRL alignment tape and do what needs to be done with that,
an oscilloscope, signal generator, etc.

5. do the recording at 30 ips if possible... if you must do it at 15
ips or less, you might want to use DBX-I (noise reduction). but also
make a second copy without DBX for archival purposes.

6. ascertain that the source tapes don't have a problem with sticking
binder... if they do, you'll need to pop them into a constant 150
degree oven for a while (not a toaster oven... temp. varies too much)

7. clean and demagnetize the heads on a good 3-head cassette deck

8. keep an eye on the VU meters... remember, there's a difference in
reading analog and digital VU meters


and... have fun! :-)

Copyright (C) 2003 R. D. Davis The difference between humans & other animals: 
All Rights Reserved            an unnatural belief that we're above Nature &  410-744-4900  her other creatures, using dogma to justify such         beliefs and to justify much human cruelty.
Received on Tue Oct 21 2003 - 00:07:13 BST

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